Irene Niet

The governance of artificial intelligence in the energy transition

Technology Innovation & Society, Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology,

Promoter: Dr. Q.C. van Est


With a bachelor degree in Political Science, followed by a master degree in Political Science – International Relations and a master degree in European Studies – Governing Europe, all from the University of Amsterdam, I have a background in political science and humanities. Both my Master theses were about the energy transition. For the Master Political Science, I conducted a comparative research between Norway and the Netherlands to understand the societal differences resulting in a difference in the renewable energy transition. For the Master European Studies, I studied the different modes of governance of the renewable energy transition within the European Union.

Summary PhD Project

The sustainable energy transition requires an increasing integration of renewable energy into the energy supply, and with that flexibility and efficiency. Digitization of the energy system can help the energy system to become more responsive. With the development of smart energy networks and the Internet of Energy, we see the fusion of two large sectors of the Dutch economy: the energy sector and the digital (internet) sector. With this, the implementation of artificial intelligence technologies in the energy system has come closer as well. The fusion of these two sectors raises the big question of what the governance of this sector looks like, what it could look like and what it should look like. In relation to this, what kind of social, ethical, judicial and political issues will the implementation of new technologies such as AI in the energy system lead to? In order to guarantee the energy system still meets its core values (affordability, reliability, availability) while adding to the development of the energy transition and not jeopardizing important ethical issues such as privacy, fair economic competition, safety and autonomy, research must be conducted. In this research, different questions will be answered:
• How has the implementation of AI developed in the Dutch energy system and energy transition, and how can we expect it to develop?
• What social, ethical, political and judicial problems can we expect to occur as a result from this development?
• How does the current (Dutch) governance system deal with the development, the digitization of energy and the problems this results in?
• If the governance system is not sufficiently equipped to deal with these problems, what should be changed in the governance system and how can this be changed?